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By chris
Lead 21


The Sekforde project comprises the restoration of a historic pub, and the design of a new building on an adjacent disused street-facing service yard in London’s Clerkenwell district, by Chris Dyson Architects. The client, David Lonsdale, had a passion for the sensitive restoration of the historic pub and intended to become the live-in landlord.


The initial consent permitted minimal works to the historic facade, but on starting the work it became apparent that the original bricks, hidden beneath render, were of good quality. An archive photograph from the mid-1920s showed the brickwork exposed, so a second application was made to reinstate the original facade, including replacement of the timber shopfront and removal of the render. The cement render was removed using hand tools and any damaged bricks repaired and the facade repointed using a lime-based mortar. Rounded and gauged brick arches were pointed with lime putty, and badly damaged bricks replaced with matching reclaimed London stocks. The entire facade was soot-washed to knock back the brick colour and bring it more in line with neighbouring properties.


The pub cellar was restored to form part of a new restaurant, with layers of paint removed from the brick walls. These were then repointed using a lime-based mortar with silver sand aggregate, giving a light colour in contrast to the exposed red brick. At ground floor, the timber panelling, fireplace and bar were carefully restored, and on the first floor a ballroom with Georgian timber panelling, mouldings and covings have been carefully reinstated. The colour palette references the Yellow Room at the Sir John Soane’s Museum.


A map from 1872 showed the pub yard occupied, and this was used in Chris Dyson Architects’ application for a new three-storey mixed-use building. Constructed of reclaimed bricks, the building features a mixture of gauged brick arches, brick recesses, a dramatic brick point and a contemporary interpretation of Georgian proportions. The brickwork also features flush penny-struck pointing throughout, with a 2.5:1 ratio of sand to hydraulic powder lime. Cast Portland stone cills were used to complement the yellow brickwork.


An extensive heat recovery and water-source heat pump system ensures comfort while negating the environmental impact of demands for heating and cooling. The heat pump uses the natural water table beneath the property to provide both heating and cooling, and a rigorous approach to detailing and co-ordination ensured minimal impact on the grade-two listed fabric. The building uses only one seventh the energy of an equivalently sized pub.


Between the historic and new build is a glazed link, juxtaposing the restored brickwork and newly-built reclaimed brickwork that is highlighted through accent lighting. A bespoke metal and stone stair provides access to the residential units and to the upper levels of the pub.


The Sekforde was recognised by RIBA recently, winning a Regional Award and Sustainability Award at the RIBA London Awards 2018.

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